We're moving Forums to the Community pages. Click here for more information and updates.

America's Got Cable: A&E vs. FX



Welcome to another skull-stealing week of America's Got Cable: The Search for the Nation's Finest Basic Cable Channel!


OLD BUSINESS: Looks like we've discovered a second, more brutal meaning of the term HGTV'd! Congratulations goes to...


**************************************************HGTV**************************************************

It was unanimous. Oh well, HSN will just have to console itself with BILLIONS of dollars. These comments were priceless, though:


CrimeDramaBee: "HGTV because one time I watched it and I learned how to fix something. I don't remember what it was that needed fixing, or if it really did need fixing in the first place. Nor did I care."


KevinG87: "I don't watch HGTV, but seriously, putting HSN against ANYTHING is beyond insane. It wastes space." [Ed. note: Good to know!]


lynna12000: "HSN couldn't beat the WORST SyFy movie of the week." [Ed. note: I don't know, I have to disagree with you there.]



NEW BUSINESS: Okay, no more joking—THIS is a matchup.



A&E;

Background: For better or worse, A&E;'s come a long way from its humble beginnings as an arts channel that aired for two hours a night on Nickelodeon. It first launched in 1984 as the Arts and Entertainment Channel and was intended to be a commercial-supported competitor to PBS. In 1985 it spun off from Nickelodeon into its own channel, and up until 2002 aired mostly high-brow programming that was heavily stacked with BBC productions, Biography series, miniseries adaptations of classic literature, and such. Then in 2002 it got a low-culture makeover when it summarily canceled many of its stodgier shows and unveiled a reality TV-heavy slate that included things like Dog the Bounty Hunter, Criss Angel MindFreak and Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Recently A&E; has begun to get back into scripted series with things like Breakout Kings and The Glades.

Original Programming: In addition to the above, A&E; is also the home of Storage Wars, Billy the Exterminator, Beyond Scared Straight, The First 48, Steven Seagal: Lawman, and most significantly the addiction shows Intervention, Heavy, and Hoarders.

Reruns: A&E; has been home to various crime procedurals since before its reality TV makeover—particularly Law & Order. These days it's more likely to air reruns of Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, and especially The Sopranos.

Why It's The Best: For a schedule filled to the brim with guilty pleasures, I admit that it all somehow seems more palatable when stamped with the A&E; logo.

Why It's The Worst: You know there's a problem when the USA Network has classier programming than you do.


FX

Background: FX has one of the weirdest beginnings of any corporate-owned network. Back in 1994, it began broadcasting from a single apartment in New York as basically a cable-access-style network full of live programming and internet-fueled viewer feedback (think G4 meets Reality Bites). Much of the broadcast day was full of in-house talk shows hosted by people like Jeff Probst, Orlando Jones, or Phil Keoghan, and the rest of the schedule consisted of reruns of Fox shows. When that format didn't work out, the channel was relaunched with more of a Spike-like dude feel, and the channel secured broadcast rights to NASCAR and tons of MLB coverage. But FX truly began to come into its own around 2002, when it debuted The Shield and later Nip/Tuck, making it the go-to cable network for edgy, high-quality scripted programming.

Original Programming: In addition to stalwarts It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Rescue Me, FX's newer hits include animated comedy Archer, live-action comedies Louie, Wilfred, and The League—plus huge hits Justified and Sons of Anarchy. And the upcoming Ryan Murphy series American Horror Story (hi, Connie Britton!) looks pretty great too.

Reruns: Too bad FX's reruns aren't nearly so hot... unless you like That '70s Show (which also airs on every other channel) or you already crave the Charlie Sheen days of Two and a Half Men. For folks with slightly better taste, you're also bound to catch reruns of '90s semi-classics The Practice or Spin City (hi, Connie Britton!).

Why It's the Best: For a network that could have gone the crass-and-inessential Spike route, it's amazing that FX now rivals HBO in quality entertainment.

Why It's the Worst:: FX can sometimes get a little cancel-happy on shows that probably don't deserve it (RIP Terriers and Lights Out).


Official TV.com Verdict: You're doing it wrong, A&E.; Hooray for FX!

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: A&E; or FX? And make your case! What do you love or hate about each channel?

Click below to see the full tournament bracket:


Want to catch up on past battles? Head over to the America's Got Cable archives.


Follow TV.com writer Price Peterson on Twitter: @pricepeterson

Comments (43)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
FX SONS RULE!
Reply
Flag
I'm a media buyer for national cable and I sent a link to this article around the office. A lot of things go into what an advertisers perception of the "best" network. Quality original programming, solid ratings, and fair and consistent pricing. Most importantly, ability to be adaptable to advertiser needs. I know everyone pooh pooh's it, but really that is what pays the bills. Product integrations and marketing solutions that convey brand messaging in the voice of the network is vital. In this case, FX is able to do all of these things efficiently. A&E pulls consistently higher ratings across all demos, but approaches things (including programming choices) with more of an "old school" mentality.
Reply
Flag
FX, because of The Shield and Justified
Reply
Flag
You forgot to mention Parking Wars, the best show on A&E
Reply
Flag
While FX may win on the strength of pure entertainment, what A&E has for REAL reality goes beyond ratings and actual raw life. FX gets my vote for FAILING to realize a gem in the making with Terriers. Folded to numbers game of ratings. Ratings based on 60's technology!!

A&E gets my vote
Reply
Flag
I have to vote for FX. Archer is so good it's almost like I don't have Cancer.
Reply
Flag
FX wins hands down. What are my reasons: Sons of Anarchy & Justified.
Reply
Flag
FX .....
Reply
Flag
FX they, aren't scared to be edgy.
Reply
Flag
About 15 years ago Jaguar used to advertise on A&E. Kinda not the Hoarders audience now is it?
Reply
Flag
Can't compare reality-based originial, crappy programming to a talking dog or adult cartoons. The Shield, Sons, Louie, Sunny, and Nip/Tuck are praised but not picked up on network TV because too daring. Shows like Archer or Wilfred (proven in Australia first) along with these don't compare to another pile of junk or druggie like any other network has.

IT'S FX. Wish next wasn't AMC. Too many Emmys.
Reply
Flag
id go with FX, A&E is on its way up but not quite there yet
Reply
Flag
i guess i will go with FX...mainly just for the ryan murphy shows (NIP/TUCK, and the upcoming horror story) Cant wait for AMC to take FX next round tho
Reply
Flag
FX wins. amazing original shows as well as a pretty decent movie line-up (a lot of it's trash like fantastic 4 but sometimes they'll play something like The Departed or Eastern Promises). Get on to the showdown between FX and AMC already!
Reply
Flag
FX all the way. anyone that says A&E automatically has a lower IQ.
Reply
Flag
FX dominates. yet i have no faith in the voting after last weels results so im sure A&E will probaly win.
Reply
Flag
A&E because of Criminal Minds reruns and Breakout Kings. I don't watch anything on FX. Also, I'll have you know, USA is my favorite cable channel! :P
Reply
Flag
There's no stronger argument than The Shield, Sons Of Anarchy, Justified, Archer and IASIP. But they do get a big slap too - for cancelling Terriers and Lights Out! In fact 5 slaps for cancelling Terriers - or better make it 10 slaps and 1 KO for LO.
Reply
Flag
FX all the way.
Reply
Flag
FX for three reasons: Justified, Always Sunny, and Sons if Anarchy.
Reply
Flag
I know someone who's favorite show's are Intervention, Heavy, and Hoarders. I mockingly gave this person her own intervention, her addiction, watching HORRIBLE television. FX wins hands down.
Reply
Flag
A&E = +1 for Breakout Kings, +5 each for bringing Cracker and Inspector Morse to the US, and +5 for having some great re-runs but -15 (at least) for reality TV shows................ FX = +2 for Archer [Two points because it's brilliant], +1 each for The Shield, Wilfred, SoA, Damages, Justified, also, +1 in anticipation of American Horror Story being good - or at the very least, Connie + b*ndage, Also +5 for showing the UEFA Champions League (real football) but -1 for cancelling Lights out and -2 for cancelling Terriers..........therefore TOTAL A&E = 1, FX = 10,..........FX easy winner!
Reply
Flag
mathematics can solve anything.
Reply
Flag
I really like Breakout Kings on A&E, but really that's about it. FX, on the other hand, has Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, and the Shield. FX all the way.
Reply
Flag
As much as I enjoy Breakout Kings on A&E. FX has IASIP, Wilford and my family would kill me for not mention SoA.



FX!
Reply
Flag
Easy FX. IASIP Nip/Tuck, Wilfred and others.
Reply
Flag
I have to go with FX for the same reasons everyone else said.
Reply
Flag
I say FX since they have more entertainment in their programming. And at the end of the day isn't that all we want just to be entertained to take us out of the real world.
Reply
Flag
Duhhhh FX...but why is it FX vs. AMC next round...that should have been saved for the end or at least the semi's...
Reply
Flag
FX FTW!!!!!
Reply
Flag
FX FTW!!!! Duh i mean when u have Archer a show that makes Cancer Funny (even though it's not) I mean in the words of Charlie Sheen "Winning Duh"
Reply
Flag
I used to watch A&E occasionally. Mostly Biography. Not anymore. I vote for FX. Not because I watch it that much, but because I don't like reality programming.
Reply
Flag
FX!! because of it's always sunny, archer, and the shield
Reply
Flag
This is a David vs. Goliath situation in which Goliath squashes David with its big toe. FX all the way.
Reply
Flag
FX. Sunny is the best comedy on cable
Reply
Flag
I would also have to say FX is my choice, A&E no doubt is getting some great shows out there, but its only a couple, before those I never cared to watch A&E.
Reply
Flag
A&E. The only argument you need is the shield is the greatest show of all time
Reply
Flag
Uh, so then why did you pick the station that does NOT air The Shield?
Reply
Flag
Staff
FX, just on The Shield alone. A little bit angry though because they canceled Terriers and Lights Out. More because of Terriers. A&E's Breakout Kings is a good TV BTW.
Reply
Flag
Definitely FX! For SOA alone!!!
Reply
Flag
Staff
Cannot wait for the new season to start in September.
Reply
Flag
On sheer number of quality original programming its FX all the way. As much as I enjoy watching The Glades and Breakout Kings, I can't go without Justified, Sons of Anarchy and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Reply
Flag
FX because its original programming is some of the best on TV right now, A&E is more likely to be on here when there's nothing better to watch. (Like when FX airs its reruns)
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook